June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.444.1 - 10.444.10
Development and Assessment of a Freshman Seminar to Address Societal Context
Maura Jenkins and Louise A. Yates University of Southern California
Abstract ABET Criterion 3 mandates 11 assessable outcomes (lettered a-k) to ensure that engineering graduates have the nontechnical skills and context to practice as responsible professionals. A perennial problem in freshman retention is lack of exposure to engineering before students decide to switch to another major. Many freshman engineering programs and courses focus on problem-solving and design, outcomes c and e. As a result of this effort, many successful models exist. Nonetheless, retention of freshmen in engineering remains a problem.
In this paper, we describe development of a seminar course to address other ABET Criterion 3 outcomes in the freshman year, particularly global and societal context (h), contemporary issues (j), and lifelong learning (i). Objectives-based course design was used to develop activities directed toward these outcomes. Assessments of both the pilot and the full program involving all USC engineering freshmen are presented. Improvements made and future plans will also be discussed.
Introduction The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) EC 2000 Criterion 3 mandates 11 program outcomes common to all engineering degree programs seeking accreditation to ensure that engineering graduates have the nontechnical skills and context to practice as responsible professionals. A perennial problem in freshman retention is lack of exposure to engineering before students decide to switch to another major. Many freshman engineering programs and courses focus on problem-solving and design, outcomes c and e. As a result of this effort, many successful models exist, but retention of freshmen remains a problem.
Similar introduction to engineering courses exist at the University of Southern California (USC), but as 10 different discipline-specific courses in 8 departments. (Three-quarters of incoming engineering freshmen already have majors, while the other 25% take a general introduction to engineering course that surveys the majors.) These courses feature design projects and other forms of active learning to varying degrees; approximately 50% of the freshman class completes a design project in their introductory course.
Like most science and engineering courses, the focus is on technical content, resulting in dense courses with little room for the addition of societal context and other less technical topics. Thus, the decision was made to create a new interdisciplinary course for students from all engineering majors. The goal of the Engineering Freshman Academy seminars is
Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Yates, L., & Borrego, M. (2005, June), Development And Assessment Of A Freshman Seminar To Address Societal Context Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14136
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